#941 The Official Universal Fry-Sharing Policy

The Universal Fry-Sharing Policy states that if you are eating a meal with someone who ordered fries, and you didn’t order fries, you’re entitled to grab one of their fries and eat it just as it’s landing on the table as long as a) you ask first, b) you make eye contact with them and raise your eyebrows until they nod, or c) you just know them really well.

Also, since you’re getting first dibs on their sizzling stick-pile of delicious, hot, oily fries, it’s only fair that you purposefully avoid any obviously amazing fry in the pile. You know that really, really long McDonald’s fry sticking out of the box? Probably shouldn’t touch that. But the thin, crispy short ones, the oversalted ones, and the regular, limp n’ floppy ones? Those are all fair game, my friend. All fair game.

But be careful out there: The policy can be abused. Some people might start pecking away at the fry-pile then just start gaining momentum, unable to stop gorging themselves on your plate once they get started. They just keep testing the waters, pushing the envelope, snacking away until you move your plate out of reach or ask them politely how their food tastes. I’m serious, you need to watch out for these Gorgers, because they’ll dent your fry-pile if you’re not careful.

Stop! Thief!

Secondly, watch out for those diner plates that come with only a dozen fries. You know what I’m talking about. Those places that give you a small pile of thick, baked-potato-tasting fries, and that’s it. Those piles are off-limits! Sorry, but the Universal Fry-Sharing Policy simply does not cover extremely small piles of chunky-style fries. It would be too much to take one of those fries. The percentages just don’t work.

Finally, there is one Appendix to The Universal Fry-Sharing Policy. Conveniently, it is called Appendix One and it simply states that after somebody who ordered fries finishes their meal and pushes their leftover pile of dry, cold, ketchup-smeared fries into the center of the table the first dibs go to people who didn’t get fries. Second dibs go to those who already demolished a stack of them, but just want more. And third dibs go to the guy washing the dishes in the back.

So thanks, Universal Fry-Sharing Policy. Your existence is a win-win, balancing the tables by helping us fry guys trim down the calories and helping the “Can I substitute salad for fries?” folks enjoy some guilty pleasure while still meeting their Eatin’ Healthy goals.


Good form, solid execution.

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#942 When somebody flashes their high beams at you to warn you about the cops

Tired and groggy, you’re driving home late at night, whipping down the side streets and back paths to get home a bit faster, your eyelids drooping, your body achy and sore. Occasionally, there are headlights in the opposite direction, blurry, whiz-by streaks of bright white — shift workers, truck drivers, and party animals all owning the lonely roads, trying to get somewhere quick.

Then suddenly an approaching car flashes their high beams at you. Blinded, you sit up, awake and alert, checking all your mirrors, slowing the car down. What’s going on, you think, until a few seconds later you pass a cop car with its lights off, sitting on the side of the road waiting to catch a speeder, a patient and silent predator waiting for its prey.

“Thank you,” you whisper under your breath, as you drive by under the speed limit. “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

* * *

Isn’t it also great that the flasher going the opposite direction really can’t ever get the favor returned? I mean, you don’t know him or her, him or her don’t know you. They just sort of threw the favor out there, a warm passing smile on a dark drive home, with no payback required or expected. No, you might never see each other again, but it’s just The Late-Night Driver’s Pact, a rebellious fight-the-police stance that helps everyone out in the pocketbook a bit.

So you smile as you drive on, and when you see another car heading the opposite direction, you know what to do.

Flash them high beams, sister. Flash them bright and light up the night.


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#943 Using Q-Tips the way you’re not supposed to use Q-Tips

Yes, I’m talking about rubbing and twisting that cottony Q-Tip tip right on up inside your ear canal. Yeah, get it deep in there, where it doesn’t belong, because it’s like an amazing, satisfying inner-ear massage.

Also, the more dark, waxy, and disgusting the Q-Tip is when you’re done, the more satisfying it is, am I right? Because then on top of the inner-ear massage you get a killer “Whoa, that just came out of me…” high, too. For those keeping track at home, that’s two highs for the price of one. Not a bad deal!

Now, I know what you’re thinking: How could I possibly advocate doing something so terribly dangerous like pushing a hard, pointy object up against your fragile ear drum? I mean, the box itself says right on it “Do not insert swab into ear canal. Entering the ear canal could cause injury.” Plus, the Q-Tips website doesn’t even mention sticking them in your ears. And neither do the pictures on the back of the box! No, all they talk about is how Q-Tips are great for applying makeup, cleaning your camera lens, painting with your kids, and, uh… dog.

Seriously, could someone figure out why the dog’s on there? If you could, that’d be pretty…


In conclusion, you need to be careful when you’re scraping your ear out. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun while you’re at it.


Why is there a dog on there?

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#944 Your disgusting pillow

Your worked in pillow shouldn't look like this

Back one day on a long road trip, I sat in the driver’s seat, Ty sat shotgun, and Chris sat in the back. We were trucking down a long stretch of highway in silence, just watching the world go by, when out of nowhere Ty suddenly turned to me and said: “Hey, how long have you had your pillow?”

You kind of roll with the random questions on road trips, because if you don’t then you get mighty sick of I Spy and the four mix CDs you brought along pretty quick. So I thought about it for a moment, then said earnestly, “You know, I can’t remember ever not having my pillow. I think I’ve had it for like twenty years or something. It’s completely old, worn-out, flat, and stained, but I’ve had it forever and I can’t find another good, flat pillow like this so I’ll probably keep it until it disintegrates, or I until I lose it or something.”

I thought nothing of it, continuing to stare straight ahead and fiddle with the radio, but Ty stared back at me completely horrified. His jaw dropped, his brain boggled, and he was silent for a minute. “You know,” he said eventually, his eyebrows furrowed in real concern and his head bobbing in little nods, as if convincing himself that despite the severity of the news he was about to deliver, it was important to just get it out, “you’re not supposed to keep any pillow for longer than a year. It’s actually really, really bad for you.”

“Whatever,” I countered, eventually settling on a radio station and continuing to stare out the windshield. “It’s just a pillow.”

Love your pillow and it will love you

“Yeah, that’s the thing,” Ty counter-countered, “It’s not just a pillow at that point. It’s a really dense collection of years of dandruff, dead skin, dust mites, and drool. Seriously, it’s less ‘pillow’ and more ‘your disgusting head’ at that point. It’s full of years of bacteria. Bacteria that’s had a chance to grow and build cities! I swear, I saw it on a website and in the news.”

There was a pause, before I eventually dismissed Ty’s claim with finality. “Pshhhhhh,” I concluded, putting on my sunglasses and turning up the volume on the radio.

Defeated, Ty let it go, preferring to let me suffer the nightmarish consequences of sleeping on my pillow rather than waste any more effort trying to convince me that I needed an upgrade. So we drove on in silence, watching the world go by on that long stretch of highway.

I let it drift away then, let it disappear, but really — the truth is that I just didn’t want to think about it.

No, I didn’t want to contemplate the possibility that I might need to replace my pillow. Because there’s really nothing quite like the comfort provided by your pillow, is there? I’m talking about the one you sleep on every night. The one that has bent and shaped itself around your head, has been fluffed and squished and packed and thrown. It’s a bit yellow, there’s some hair on it, but it just… knows you. It loves you. And it’s been with you for eight hours a day since you can remember.

Yeah, I once heard a stand-up comic describe his pillow as looking like a bandage from the civil war. And mine’s probably at that level, too. I even think of it like a bandage, cradling and caressing my worn-weary head, providing a gentle escape from reality every night from dusk till dawn.

I mean, that’s why I can never really get a good night’s sleep anywhere else unless I take my pillow along. I admit it looks a bit funny walking in the door with a pillow under my arm, but oh well. See, what if I sleep over at your place and you toss me one those flimsy, sack-pillows that feel like they’re stuffed with fifty ripped-up handfuls of industrial-grade Styrofoam? And I’m not taking any chances with the hotel’s puffy, unsupportive cloud-pillows either, or those wacked-out, ergonomic jobs that make your head feel like it’s propped up on a wheelchair ramp.

No, it’s all about your pillow, yours, your pillow. I mean, have you ever tried to switch pillows with someone else one night? It cannot work.

Your pillow’s been there through the highs, the lows, the nightmares, and the tears. You’ve been through a lot together and you know each other so well. So next time you’re planning to crash somewhere? Take your pillow. In exchange for a little less packing space, you’ll get a lot more hours of goodnight comfort and moonlit, subconscious bliss.

And hey, if you don’t believe me?

Sleep on it.


Share the bed with these cute little critters


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#945 Spending all your hard-earned money on candy

Everyone’s got the candy of their generation, their neighborhood, and their tastes. What sugary delights sent young minds to greats heights when you were a kid? Well, let’s share. Here are some highlights from fourth grade:

Sizzles and pops

  1. Lotsa Fizz. Also known by its more convenient nickname ‘Fizz’, these candies masqueraded as a regular ol’ hard candy, the kind you might find in a doctor’s office or a crystal dish in your grandma’s front foyer. Other than the snake-like packaging, linking individually-wrapped pieces together, there appeared to be nothing special about them. However, once you crunched into them, they released a tingly, carbonated bubble-liquid that sizzled and frothed on the tongue. A real advancement in the candy surprise effect. Good for a year or so

8. Massive, fist-sized Jawbreakers aka Dinosour Eggs. The big question here was who could fit these in all the way? Occasionally, a local big mouth would manage to squeeze it up in there, and then proceed to nearly suffocate while trying to simultaneously breathe and speed-suck the jawbreaker down to a smaller size with drool flying everywhere. It wasn’t pretty. You were actually watching them OD right in front of you. Of course, others would simply leave the giant jawbreaker on their night table and have a few licks before bedtime, spending a year or so patiently turning the smooth sphere into a faded, rubbed-out rainbow of dried spit and sugar. Whatever you think about these things, they definitely came out on top of the Total Candy Minutes Per Dollar ranking.

7. Pez. Was it just me, or did Pez have a kind of weird taste? Don’t get me wrong — the dispenser alone was enough for some great memories, despite some questionable versionsover the years.

Sour balls

6. Tear Jerkers aka Sour Balls. At the time, Tear Jerkers were a futuristic advancement in Artificial Souring Technology. They caused a massive sugar high epidemic at my grade school, with kids running over to the variety store at lunch to grab a new bag, daring each other to eat two or three at a time. The gum that remained after the sour powder was gone was always a wet, syrupy disappointment, and usually ended up in the trash to make more room in your mouth. But that sour powder packed a punch and it often left the insides of your cheeks all inflammed and torn up for the rest of the week. And of course, there was always the big question: who has the guts to eat the leftover patch of sour powder in the corner of the bag?

Don't break the stick!

  1. Fun Dip aka Lik-M-Aid. Fun Dip was an entirely new way to eat your candy: Lick an edible candy stick and then use your own spit as glue to collect all the sugar-powder below. Well, it was a great long-lasting treat, as long as your stick didn’t come broken when you bought it. If that happened, you had to dive in with your wet finger instead. But you had to be careful, because it was that mark of the stained, purple finger that gave away why you weren’t hungry at dinner time. A lot of people would finish off by eating the actual stick itself for good measure which is sort of like eating your fork after finishing your pie.

  2. Hot and Cold Nerds. Nerds was always a decent backup selection — it filled up the candy bag but was rarely the first pick. Sure, that little box of tiny, hard, asteroid-shaped candy offered two flavors in one box, but there was nothing too special about picking up Watermelon and Grape or Strawberry and Lemon. That is, until Nerds came out with the temperature-themed Hot and Cold Nerds box in the late 80s. Sure, maybe it was just bright, red cinnamon and bright, blue wintergreen, but it sure was fun alternating burning and freezing sensations in your mouth. Of course, there were always two kinds of Nerds kids — the slow, tantric, shake-it-in-your-hands-and-savor-it kids, and the minute men who instead preferred the all-in-one-go, head-tilt, box-shake maneuver.

3. Bizarre Forms of Gum. Remember the glory days where gum came in so many different forms? There was baseball card gum, shattering and cutting the inside of your mouth like glass when you bit into it. There was Big League Chew, the shredded chewing tobacco gum. And of course there were Bubble Jugs, Bubble Tape, and even Bubble Gum Squeeze Tubes, which you pushed into your mouth like toothpaste, though with the exact opposite effect.

  1. Pixy Stix. I always admired the straight-shooting style of Pixy Stix. Unlike the other candies, they didn’t dress up and pretend to be anything besides sugar. They were the real deal, straight up, just sugar in a straw. You want something gummy, sticky, sour, or chewy? Try the other guys. Now, if you want plain sugar, you’ve come to the right place. Available in regular size and occasionally a Super Jumbo Straw version. Just be careful you don’t get dry-throat and gag on it when your brother pours a strawful down your throat.

Good luck kicking the habit

1. Popeye Cigarettes. These ones were the real deal, before they took off the red tip at the end and rebranded them as ‘Popeye’s Candy Sticks.’ Yes, after a dark, moody stint with the patch, Popeye managed to finally kick the habit. But good thing, or he probably wouldn’t be with us today.

Yes, finding and chowing down on some of the candies you grew up with is like sucking on sugary memories. Because how did it feel walking out of your local corner store with a wide smile pasted across your face, an empty wallet, and an armful full of candy?

I think we all know the answer to that.


Gateway drug to shotgunning a beer

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#946 That first shower you take after not showering for a really long time

Work that lather afro

Sure, the first couple days of not showering have a bit of a dirty-cool, hippieish, roughing-it feel to them. You come into your own, letting the deodorant wash away, the hair get full of scraggly-knots, and the sweat dry into your clothes. If you’re camping, you are at one with nature. If you’re at home, you’re at one with lazy weekend. If you’re traveling, you’re at one with delayed, multiple-stopover international flight.

Either way, you’re at one in your dirty Zen moment. And that’s cool.

But whether it’s a day, two days, or even a week later, it eventually hits you: You need a shower, bad. And you ain’t gonna to get one till you get home. Suddenly, you don’t want to be a hippie no more.

Then you start thinking about it. And you keep thinking about it. You start to notice dirt stains building up on your arms and legs. You smell the thin film of leftover bug spray and sunblock on your skin. You comb a dead earwig out of your hair while collecting sticks for the campfire. Your scalp gets really, really itchy. And let’s be honest: your groin region isn’t in the best shape, either.

Yeah, that’s why the first shower you take after not showering for a while feels so good. You can actually feel the dirt washing off you. The white soap bar turns a bit darker and you use a week’s worth of shampoo as you work your hair into a massive Lather Afro. The shampoo gets in your ears, but you don’t mind. There’s sand in there anyway. Your sunburns and scrapes get washed out. Your tightly wrenched neck gets massaged by the warm water. Your nose gets a good blowing. And you wash all the bits of spider web, campfire ash, and lake algae off your face.

Then finally, you’ve returned.

Fresh, sparkly, and squeaky clean, you’ve completed your soapy metamorphosis back into the old Clean You we remember. Yes, your hair is shining, your skin is soft and streak-free, and your scalp is rehydrated and ready to rock. Plus, let’s be honest: That groin region is now totally…


Wash it away

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#948 The Man Couch in clothing stores

Watch that purse!

The Man Couch is any couch conveniently located near the changerooms in a women’s clothing store.

You can tell which one’s The Man Couch, because it’s generally covered in man. Most are either text-messaging, napping illegally, or staring straight ahead, jaws dropped, pupils dilated, and completely zoned out, their arms full of purses and plastic bags from other stores.

Now, The Man Couch really is good for everybody:

For women, it gives them a convenient place to find their male shopping companion. There they are, right outside the change room! This is much better than having to track them down in the magazine section of Borders or in the EB Games by the food court, for instance. Also, it’s great knowing your purse is safe and there’s an opinion available if you want it.

For guys, The Man Couch is a place of solace and comfort. Its giving cushions provide a quiet reprieve from the unrelenting Day Of Shopping. Surrounding guys are fellow travelers, their worn-weary eyes telling cautionary tales of Seven-Sweater Fashion Shows and Lineups For Hemming. Yeah, it’s a tired, quiet gang sitting there in the couch hostel at the back of the store.

So thank you, The Man Couch. Without you our calves would be burning even more, our boyfriends would be over at the record store, and we’d all be sitting on the floor.

The Man Couch, ladies and gentlemen!


Chilling on The Man Couch

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#949 Making up your own orders at fast food restaurants

McDonald's Neopolitan Shake

Ever had a neopolitan milkshake from McDonald’s?

One where they layer the chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla flavors in the same cup, creating a thick, icy, slow-moving light-brown-swirls-with-pink-flecks taste sensation? Yeah, my friend Chad was a regular customer of those. Of course, when he was working at McDonald’s he got sick of the regular menu pretty quickly and started tinkering in the back like a mad scientist with his coworkers, developing exotic, unstable, and unpredictable meal creations with the ingredients on hand. Yes, there were failed attempts, like the Chicken McNugget Flurry, but sometimes they struck gold and created a new off-the-menu line extension. I guess this is fairly common, because there are reports of online McDonald’s employee communities, where insider recipes such as the McBrushetta and McPancakeBatterFunnelCakes are shared.

Now, my world opened up when I first realized with Chad that you could order off-the-menu at fast food restaurants. Since that time I’ve learned about a few other secret options around. Like for instance:

Wendy’s – The Grand Slam. If the single, double, or triple hamburgers at Wendy’s just don’t cut it for you, just go all out and order the massive four-patty grand slam. Also known as the Classic Quadruple or The Meat Cube.Freshly squeezed and piping room temperature

McDonald’s – Fries with Big Mac Sauce. Lots of people put fries right on the burger, which I agree tastes delicious. But this technique allows you to switch things up a bit and put some of your burger’s best feature right on your fries. Try to ignore protests from your arteries, and just ask for that a little cup of Big Mac Sauce on the side for dipping.

Starbucks – The Red Eye. A cup of coffee with a shot of espresso dumped in. Now, I’m not a huge coffee drinker, but apparently you can even upgrade this to two shots which is called a Black Eye. I presume upgrading to three shots is called a Jumpy, Unblinking Eye.

Most Fish & Chip places – Batter Bits. I knew a girl who was all over these. She’d lean in and guiltily ask in a hushed whisper and the guy behind the counter would nod slowly and hand over a wet, greasy paper bag full of all the batter drippings that fell into the oil by accident. Yeah, this is the bottom of the barrel of off-the-menu stylings. It ain’t always pretty out there.

In N' Out's famous animal-style burger

In-N-Out Burger – Animal Style Hamburger. The well-known ‘secret menu‘ at In-N-Out features this heavenly gem — their regular burger patty cooked in mustard, then topped with extra pickles, extra spread, and grilled onions. Yessir, In-N-Out will whip anything up — including messy Animal Style Fries or even a 100×100 order (100 patties and 100 slices of dee-licious cheese.)

Subway – The Pizza Sub. Apparently this one’s like sasquatch. There are scattered sightings everywhere and a few grainy videos that may have been tampered with. Another favorite from Subway, though not technically a menu item, is simply ‘the old cut’, where they dig a trench in your bread instead of just slicing it, leading to better cold cut and veggie distribution. Also known for causing The Wing Effect, where your bologna hangs out the sides of your sandwich for some tasty pre-nibbles.

McDonald’s – Big Mac with Quarter Pounder patties. One last McDonald’s fixture — the ol’ bun-heavy Big Mac surgically altered to become a meat-heavy Big Mac with Quarter Pounder patties instead. Now you’re much less likely to get that dreaded All-Bun first bite.

Starbucks secret short cup

Starbucks – The Short Cup. Even though the smallest size on the Starbucks menu is a ‘Tall’, they do offer a secret ‘Short’ size behind the counter. Perfect for that between-coffee-breaks coffee.

Now, I’m only one man, so I’m sure there are hundreds of great off-the-menu gems that I’ve never heard of or know about. But that’s the beauty! There are all these little surprises just waiting to be discovered. What possible fast-food mouth love will we discover next?

Ordering off the menu at fast food restaurants is a great deal. Maybe you’re the loyal customer looking for that new taste. Maybe you have strict dietary restrictions so it’s either off-the-menu or no-menu-at-all. Or maybe you’re just a grumpy guy who makes flippant off-the-menu requests with a deep scowl and a foot-stomp.

But whatever the case, whatever your background, whatever your taste, I think we can all agree that it sure is nice getting a little something special for lunch now and then.


A 100x100 burger at In 'N' Out

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#950 Big, fat asses

And that's a good thing!

This ain’t no party line.

Let’s not talk about how you need to accept yourself for who you are, not what you look like, or how it’s what’s inside that counts. Let’s talk about the big ol’ side of ham hanging out the back of your pants. That’s a great side of ham for five big reasons:

1. Built-in seat cushion. Everywhere you go, everywhere you sit, things are just a bit more cushy. Tough bicycle seats on long bike rides, waiting chairs at the doctor’s office, the hard plastic fold-downs at the baseball game — yes, they all transform into soft and comfortable relax-o-sits. Practical and convenient.

2. You last the longest after a crash landing in the mountains. The skinny, bony people on your rugby team won’t last long camping out and shivering in the hollow, burnt-out fuselage. No, the harsh, unforgiving Andes will eat them right up. But your generous reserves will kick-in and start feeding the rest of your body so you’ll have more energy to flag down a plane.

3. Baby got baby. Larger rears often mean wider hips on women which means a body riper for fertility and making babies. If you want to have kids, you might find it a bit easier to do so. And hey, some of us wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for fat asses, so give it up, y’all.

4. Better conga line caboose. Say you’re at a wedding and Feeling hot! hot! hot! comes on. The crowd cheers and a giant, winding conga line begins snaking around the dance floor. Well, my friend, that big, fat ass you got is the best caboose on that conga line. So I say shake it. Nobody wants to see a rail-thin toothpick awkwardly shimmying at the back of the line. No, they want to see someone just loving it, just getting right into it, just shaking their ass like there’s no tomorrow. Olé, olé, indeed.

5. Say no to diabetes. According to these eggheads at Harvard, folks with a larger rear end may have a smaller chance of getting diabetes. Yeah, they call it subcutaneous fat, and it apparently helps improve sensitivity to insulin, which helps keep blood sugar in check. Thanks, Harvard! And thanks, fat ass!

So if you have a big, fat ass, I say love it for real. Because your big, fat ass is keeping you comfortable, helping you survive, pumping out babies, getting the dance floor hopping, and keeping diabetes in check. Just tell me that’s not


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